Ashwin Sharma interviewed by RedFM (Canada) and BBC Radio (India) on US HSI’s Fake “University of Farmington” Sting Operation
Attorney Sharma was interviewed by RedFM Canada, as well as BBC India about the below story on US Immigration’s fake university and the arrests of Indian students – BBC story (Hindi language) begins at about 5:30 min into radio program here:
India has made a diplomatic protest to the US after 129 Indian students were arrested for enrolling in a fake university.
The University of Farmington, advertised as based in Michigan state, was run by undercover agents from the Department of Homeland Security to expose “pay-to-stay” immigration fraud.
Prosecutors say those who enrolled knew that the facility would be illegal.
However, Indian officials say the students may have been duped.
On Saturday, the Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) issued the protest to the US embassy in Delhi, expressing concern over the arrests and demanding consular access to those detained.
“Our concern over the dignity and wellbeing of the detained students and the need for immediate consular access for Indian officials to the detainees was reiterated,” the ministry said.
The fake university was set up in 2015 to try to catch foreign nationals who had initially travelled to the US on student visas and wanted to stay in the country, US media reported.
Last week, ICE launched a Series of Targeted Enforcement Operations in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City areas, resulting in the arrests of more than 680 individuals.
DHS Secretary John Kelly stated yesterday that last week, ICE launched a series of targeted enforcement operations in the Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, San Antonio, and New York City areas, resulting in the arrests of more than 680 individuals. Secretary Kelly stated that the enforcement operations focused on individuals who posed a threat to public safety, had been charged with criminal offenses, and had committed immigration violations or had been deported and reentered the country illegally. He also asserted that the focus of the operations was consistent with the “routine, targeted arrests” carried out by ICE’s Fugitive Operations teams on a daily basis.
On January 27, 2017, President Trump issued an Executive Order (EO) entitled “Protecting the Nation from Foreign Terrorist Entry into the United States.” People all over the United States are rallying in opposition to this EO and showing their support for all of those individuals affected by President Trump’s EOs. AILA lawyers across the country are showing up en masse to provide legal support to those detained, as well as to families and friends waiting for their loved ones to be released.
Last night, lawyers filed actions across the country to halt the January 27 EO. A federal judge in the Eastern District of New York issued the first order, granting a nationwide stay of removal preventing deportation for individuals with valid visas and approved refugee applications affected by the EO. The next decision came out of a federal court in Massachusetts – it went a bit further and barred federal officials from detaining or removing individuals subject to the EO. Two other courts also issued rulings. In a case filed in Virginia, the court ordered federal officials to provide lawyers access to “all legal permanent residents being detained at Dulles International Airport” and barred officials from deporting covered individuals for the next seven days. In the case out of Washington State, the federal judge barred the federal government from deporting two unnamed individuals from the United States.
Lawyers in the New York case are seeking clarification from the court.
The Department of Homeland Security put out a statement early today stating only that the agency “will comply with judicial orders.”
More clarity was provided by Secretary Kelly of the Department of Homeland Security, who released a press statement this evening clarifying how the EO applies to LPRs: “I hereby deem the entry of lawful permanent residents to be in the national interest.”
What to Do If a Legal Permanent Resident (Green Card Holder) is Asked to Relinquish his/her Green Card and Sign a Form I-407, Abandonment of LPR Status by Customs and Border Protection (CBP)
In a word: Don’t.
Upon returning to the U.S., Legal Permanent Residents (LPR) should not automatically surrender their green cards if asked to do so. An individual does not lose LPR status as a result of time abroad. They remain an LPR until a final order of removal is issued and the government must prove abandonment by clear, unequivocal, and convincing evidence which a higher evidentiary standard than clear and convincing. See Matter of Huang, 19 I&N Dec. 749 (BIA 1988). Form I-407 must be signed voluntarily and there are no potential negative ramifications for refusing to sign. Neither failure to sign nor abandonment is grounds for detention. Rather, an LPR who refuses to sign Form I-407 must be issued a Notice to Appear (NTA) so that an immigration judge can determine whether they have lost their LPR status.
ST. LOUIS – A local man and his company were sentenced Thursday in federal court to forfeitures and probation following their visa fraud guilty pleas. The sentences resulted from an investigation by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), and the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Inspector General.
Robert Brake, 33, of Byrnes Mill, Mo., along with his company, Brake Landscaping & Lawncare Inc., pleaded guilty in June to misdemeanor charges of employing illegal aliens. Brake Landscaping & Lawncare Inc. is located in the 3500 block of Gratiot Street in St. Louis. The company pleaded guilty to one felony count of conspiracy to commit visa fraud. Brake and his company were sentenced to two years of probation. The company paid $145,000 in forfeitures.
11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals opens door for State Law Enforcement to check immigration status of suspects in Alabama, Georgia
The Associated Press reports that while certain provisions within Alabama and Georgia’s state enforcement laws have been rejected by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, law enforcement officers in Georgia may in fact check the immigration status of criminal suspects who do not hold acceptable identification documents. Similarly, law enforcement officers in Alabama may check the immigration status of suspects, but the Court ruled that public schools may not verify the immigration status of students.
“The court today rejected many parts of Alabama and Georgia’s anti-immigrant laws, including attempts to criminalize everyday interactions with undocumented immigrants and Alabama’s callous attempt to deprive some children of their constitutional right to education,” [American Civil Liberties Union lawyer Omar Jadwat] said in a statement. “The court explicitly left the door open to further challenges against the `show me your papers’ provision, which we will continue to fight.”
INFORMATION ON PRESIDENT OBAMA’S RECENTLY ANNOUNCED DEFERRED ACTION PROGRAM ENABLING LEGAL STATUS FOR CERTAIN YOUNG IMMIGRANTS
Jacksonville, FL – Immigration lawyer Ashwin Sharma welcomed the Administration’s recent announcement that younger immigrants may be eligible for “Deferred Action” and work authorization. The policy will grant qualified immigrants the opportunity to live free from fear of deportation and allow them to work legally. This is an exciting new development which brings hope to immigrants and their families. It is not, however, a permanent fix and does not grant permanent legal status to anyone.
To qualify, an individual must:
Frequently Asked Questions about ICE Policy Directive Number 11061.1, Facilitating the Return to the United States of Certain Lawfully Removed Aliens
I was ordered removed, and am scheduled to be removed soon. How will this affect my appeal of
my case, which is pending before the U.S. circuit court of appeals?
As explained in ICE Policy Directive Number 11061.1,
Facilitating the Return to the United States of Certain Lawfully Removed
Aliens, an alien who appeals his or her final order of removal to a federal
circuit court of appeals may continue to litigate his or her case after being
removed from the United States. Your removal will not affect your
right to continue to pursue your case before the court. Although you may be
abroad for the pendency of your case, the court of appeals that is currently
reviewing your petition for review will nevertheless be able to review and make
a decision on your case while you are not in the United States. In order to ensure
that you receive notice of the decision entered by the court in your case, you
should follow the court’s procedures for providing updated address and contact
On 4/14/11, the Georgia Legislature passed HB 87, an immigration enforcement bill that